"There were plenty of rats in the cellars, and within a few weeks she had lost the scragginess of starvation and grown sleek and contented. She followed me around the secret house like a puppy and sat beside me while I worked. I could not wait for the day when she would be big enough to wear that Persian collar. To see her strutting in its stolen magnificence would be a pleasure beyond imagination. She was my amusement, my joy, the chosen companion of my solitude. If there had been no horsemeat and rats, she would have eaten human flesh; I would have killed, if necessary, to feed my precious, precious little lady..." -'Phantom' by, Susan Kay.

One day our supplies were finally exhausted. The rats were gone, as well as the horseflesh, eaten by the soldiers and stolen by the starving citizens. There was only one thing to do. Meat must be found somewhere.

I left my hungry Ayesha in my home, mewing for some form of sustenance. I was hungry as well, which was surprising given the fact that I rarely took the time to eat. How long had it been; Three or four days without a real meal?

The city was a mess outside the safe confines of the Opera. The streets were surprisingly quiet. I searched the darker alleyways, and then I saw him.

I thought to myself, "Ah, there you are. Not quite frail enough by the harshness of starvation. Still enough meat on you to feed my precious for a month. Are you cold my child? Don't worry. I shall soon warm you in my boiling kettle of stew."

The child looked up as he heard my footsteps approach. His young eyes widened and he held out a hopeful hand for a coin or a crust of bread. Instead, I quickly wrenched his neck to the side. No need to cause the boy any more pain. He obviously suffered enough in his life.

I hoisted the tiny body up under my cloak, lest anyone see me carrying him to my home.

Ayesha mewed loudly and rubbed my pant-leg when I entered my home and dropped the body on the kitchen table.

"Hungry my love? Shhh. Don't you fret. I'll have your supper in no time. Just be patient."

She licked her fuzzy chops in anticipation, as I stoked the fire higher and brought the pot of water to boil.

I suppose I detached my mind from the task of cutting up the small body. I was merely playing butcher and slicing up a rare delicacy of meat for an impatient customer with odd tastes and a hungry appetite.

I sliced past the ragged strips of cloth that covered his near naked body. My sharp blade cut neatly up his sternum. A small amount of steam from his still warm body rose from the cavity.

"Mustn't let these go to waste. Into the pot they go!" I told her as I diced his entrails into fine pieces and dropped them into the boiling water to stew. I added some spices to make a broth.

Ayesha, who had hopped up onto the table beside the body, was sniffing, looking for some bits of meat.

"Now, now, dear. I am going to cook you a proper meal. But I suppose you can have a little tidbit now." I carefully carved out a piece of the heart and gave it to her. She meowed gratefully and started in on it, while I began cutting strips of muscle away from the bones.

"Now this will make a nice roast for you, wont' it?" I chatted away to my feline.

It took quite awhile to butcher the entire body. I got some empty sacking cloth and piled the remains of the body into it after I had salted the meat for drying and storing. I would have to take care of that later.

The meats in the pot were releasing a wonderful smell, and Ayesha kept sniffing her little pink nose in the air. I took the pot off the fire to cool a bit before ladling some of it into her dish.

I had to admit, it smelt wonderful with all the spices I had put into it. I was suddenly aware of how hungry I was. Ayesha hunched over her heaping bowl of fleshy stew, eating heartily and I stared at her with envy.

I thought to myself, "Meat is meat I suppose. What else am I to do for food?"

I gingerly took a spoonful of the broth and some tidbits of meats in it. After a moment's hesitation, I put the spoon in my mouth. Instantly gratified by the wonderful flavor that filled my mouth, I quickly reached for the ladle and a bowl and served myself a heaping helping of it.

When we were both satisfied and full, I reflected on that evening's supper. Really it wasn't so bad. The little wretch had served a purpose, and had turned out to be delicious.

Of course, there were several others that were so honored as to be our dinner guests, but then the war ended, and food supplies began to increase. I went back to my old habit of eating beef and poultry with my bread. But on a rare occasion, when the craving hit, I would go to find some helpless soul, and put them out of their misery, and into my stomach.

This is not my usual type of story, however, for the purpose of the Morbid Story Contest on I rose to the occasion.